When I first started out in business, I erroneous believed that every client was an opportunity. I wanted to close every prospect and had a difficult time dealing with the disappointment when I wasn't able to. The most painful disappointments were those where the client would agree to work with me and then back out just before we started working together. Calling this a disappointment is an understatement.
Fast forward a few years I now consider those situations a blessing in disguise. These are my reasons:
1. Valuable lessons. These situations are a fantastic opportunity to revisit the way you prospect and sign up new business. Take the time to find out why the prospect is backing out and learn the valuable lessons that need to be learnt from the experience. You don't need to work with everybody who is interested in working with you to grow your business. You just need the right people. It's ok to make mistakes if you are committed to learning from them.
2.The trust hasn't been established. Its takes time to build trust. People normally back out of a relationship when the sales process is rushed. Looking back now almost every single person that backed out of a deal is someone who met me briefly and then decided to work with me. We had not taken the time to know each other and had not built a deep level of trust. Trust is very important in a working relationship and its better not to put yourself in a situation where you are working with people who don't quite trust you. They'll be second-guessing and challenging you on every decision. You don't need that stress. Give them time to get to know you and understand what you do and how you are going to add value to their lives. One way I do this is to sign them up to my insider community where they can find out more about what I do.
3.Implement Michael Port's Red Velvet Policy. These situations are fantastic opportunities to introduce Michael Ports, Red Velvet Policy outlined in his bestselling book "Get Booked Solid". This requires you to only working with people whose values match yours and filter out people who don't fit your ideal client profile. You need to prequalify and qualify prospects to make sure that they will make a good fit and not drain you of energy. It has to be a good fit for both of you. If I'm honest, most of the clients who back out of working with me are not ideal. I just pursued them because its what you do when people express an interest in working with you. What you should do is to have a pre-qualification process or questionnaire, which will enable you to decide whether an opportunity is really worth pursuing. I know really successful business owners who will not even meet with you if your answers in the questionnaire do not meet their ideal client profile. It's just a way of protecting your time and mental space.
4.Your cue to move on to your next prospect. When someone backs out at the last minute, take it as a sign to move on. Instead of wallowing in the pain of the loss, just focus on the other people out there who need your services and products. Use the opportunity as fuel to be more determined about finding and working with the right people. Just remember that in business, you win some and you lose some. Its just part of the journey. As the saying goes, there are more fishes in the sea.
5.Some clients are trouble. I wish I could put it in a better way but when it comes down to it, not everybody who is interested in working with you would make a great client. Anybody who can't make up their mind, changes their mind very easily will bring this same attitude into your working relationship. They will be potentially high maintenance clients who will keep changing their minds and moving the goal post even when working with you. You don't want or need that. Don't pursue stress.
6.Don't show up hungry. It's easier to let prospects walk away when you are not desperate for money. This is a sign to always build up a good balance of working capital so that no one prospect becomes too important. Give yourself the opportunity to cherry pick from your prospects. Having a healthy bank balance and not being despite will help you to do that. If you didn't need the money, would you be so disappointed?
7."Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien. I've experienced prospects backing out and then coming back to work with me at a later date, presumably when they felt they were ready. People are very unpredictable so don't do anything to damage the relationship. Just keep showing up for them and keep doing your great work. They will come back when they see what they are missing out on.
Trust me on this. Keep doing the work to attract the right clients and you'll not miss a beat next time this happens.